Guys, at $4.00 a gallon, save the drive.
The store manager, Pat, is pretty cool, and all of the staff that I spoke to were knowledgeable and friendly. He came outside before hand to introduce himself and lead us all in three great WAAGH!s. I'm pretty sure that we scared the crap out of the ladies in the dress alteration store next door. They handed out the "First to the Fight" patches and the Astartes posters free while they lasted, but I didn't see any wrist bands or mousepads.
Inside they had six Paint Stations set up with all of the new types of paint available to try out, and they had one staff member standing by showing people how to use the new types. More on this in the Hobby area.
(Black Sword, can you link that here? Done!
) I'm not sure what they planned on sales wise, but I was there for about two hours and there was still a line at the register when I left, and no, the cashier wasn't slow or having problems. Guys (and girls) were buying a lot, even basic items that aren't hard to find. I also heard one guy ask if he could return a Venerable Dread that he'd bought somewhere else, and since it was still sealed up, Patrick said that he could take it back.
Patrick said that they had a lot more terrain in the back ready to fill up the other two tables (being used for paint testing and starter set displays), with enough extra that he would be switching out the terrain every couple of days so that it would always be fresh. They also have a nice plaza out front, so during tournaments they could possibly set up some tables out there. There is ice cream and coffee right next door, and two doors away on the other side is a Chinese restaurant.
As for the reports that the GW Stores aren't carrying Forge World books anymore, know that they sent them to the new store. They had the Masterclass book, IA Apocalypse, and IA 9,10, and 11. I almost dropped the cash for 9 - almost. They also had some big art book filled with pics of the Inquisition. The Black Library had a 4' section with all of the Heresy books and most of the new releases for the last several years, and a good selection of audio books/audio dramas.
For the downside, the store has about the same square footage as my living room (seriously
), including the 3 gaming tables and checkout area. If all three tables were being used, the store would be difficult to shop. It looked like they had stock of all of the plastic and Finecast items, but I don't recall seeing any of the metal miniatures anywhere.
I'd say their opening was a success, but other than the chance to buy the IA books without shipping, there's no reason for me to drive the 1:30 to get there. My local Hobbytown has a better selection of single packs and keeps some direct order items on hand. If it was local, I'd stop in to look at what's new and maybe pick up some new or hard to find items, but if there was a FLGS closer, I'd mostly pay and play there.